Policy Context and Legal Framework
Meeting the Lisbon Challenge
Innovation is the key to Europe's competitiveness. In a global economy regions have a key strategic role in speeding up the commercialisation of innovation and of research and development. All regions need to work to ensure innovative products and services reach the market as quickly as possible and that R&D has maximum impact on both their businesses and the wider economy.
There are a number of critical factors that determine the success and speed of bringing innovation to market. The Beyond Best Practice summit held in Cornwall in July 2007 examined the rewards to be derived from a new network. Delegates from 20 regions across Europe identified three crucial themes. These were:
- managing risk - how to ensure regional public authorities and regional programmes become less risk averse in themselves, and to help companies and innovators manage the risks associated with both the commercialisation of R&D and cultivating a culture of innovation
- finance - how to finance innovation (especially given the higher risk inherent in investing in more innovative products or solutions)
- developing successful partnerships - how effective partnerships between e public, private (a strong dialogue with business) and education sectors play a key role in speeding up the commercialisation of innovation
While there are examples of good practice in different regions, there was little in the way of overarching or transferable key principles around the three critical themes identified as being most important when commercialising innovation effectively.
RAPIDE sought to make use of existing good practice in the partner regions, and draw on important work and research undertaken to date in this area. It capitalises on extensive and transferable good practice as well as seeking to draw on expertise from both inside the partner regions and outside of the network.
The Interregional Cooperation Programme INTERREG IVC, financed by the European Union's Regional Development Fund, helps Regions of Europe work together to share experience and good practice in the areas of innovation, the knowledge economy, the environment and risk prevention. EUR 302 million was available for project funding but, more than that, a wealth of knowledge and potential solutions are also on hand for regional policy-makers.
RAPIDE was also a Fast Track project supported by the European Commission under the Regions for Economic Change initiative.